Orchestra Hopes Friends’ Generosity Catches On

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June 22, 2011; Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | A group of local donors who are banding together to help the Philadelphia Orchestra survive bankruptcy hope their generosity strikes a responsive chord with other potential givers. Earlier this week the orchestra announced $11.2 million in gifts and pledges. However, if the orchestra can raise $17.5 million in new money, supporters have promised another $16.3 million.

Taken together, that will provide almost one-third of the $160 million fund-raising goal the orchestra has set for itself, and the $45 million alone would underwrite its operations for the next three years, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The newspaper notes that this money is coming from “the largest and closest of the orchestra’s traditional donor family,” which means it will have to work hard as it tries to raise additional funds from “those whose connections to the orchestra are less emotional and whose largess thus may be more difficult to inspire.” 

While declining to break out the amounts or provide additional details about certain conditions the orchestra must meet to receive the additional pledged support, Allison B. Vulgamore, president, told the newspaper that these first pledges are coming from the William Penn Foundation and Wyncote Foundation; philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest; the Neubauer Family Foundation, and other orchestra board members. Acknowledging that these donors “are closest to the interests of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Vulgamore added, “I think it’s important to understand they had the confidence to come first, and that was necessary, and it was a grounding way of inspiring the next set of donors to the orchestra.”  The orchestra filed for bankruptcy reorganization last April.—Bruce S. Trachtenberg